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9 May 1995 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Tuesday, 9th May 1995.

Abortion and Family Planning

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they support the 1984 United Nations Mexico City Plan of Action asserting that "abortion in no way should be promoted as a method of family planning", and whether they currently fund any organisations that oppose such a policy; and

    Whether the United Nations Family Planning Association and the International Planned Parenthood Federation support the 1984 United Nations Mexico City Plan of Action which asserted that "abortion in no way should be promoted as a method of family planning" and, if not, whether they will reconsider their decision to fund these two organisations.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The more recent Programme of Action, agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, restates the policy agreed at Mexico: "In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning". We support this policy, as do the United Nations Population Fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. We would not fund any organisation which did not subscribe to this policy.

Chinese Population Policy

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In view of the public praise given by the Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) to the Chinese for "their remarkable achievements", and her reference to the Chinese population policy as "totally voluntary", whether they regard the UNFPA's condemnation of coercive population polices as adequate; and if not, whether they will reconsider their decision to fund the UNFPA.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We understand that the China Daily newspaper misquoted the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Nafis Sadik. She praised China for improving the health of its people, particularly women and children. We understand that she did not make the remark attributed to her about China's population policy. We support fully UNFPA's opposition to coercive population policies, which is clear and unambiguous.

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the UNFPA's technical and management assistance helps to provide the wherewithal for the Chinese authorities to enforce their coercive population programme more vigorously.

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Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No. UNFPA programmes, in China and elsewhere, promote better health, contraceptive choice and informed consent.

Abortion: IPPF Policy

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the International Planned Parenthood Federation funds projects which seek to legalise abortion in countries which have no law on the subject and, if so, whether they will publish in the Official Report a table showing the sums given to each country during each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The International Planned Parenthood Federation does not fund any specific projects which seek to legalise abortion. Some individual family planning associations are involved in national debates on the provision of safe abortion.

Ambassadors: Remuneration Committee

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What qualifications and what experience of international relations are required of the three private sector members of the new Ambassadors Remuneration Committee.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Among the qualities which the three private sector members of the remuneration committee will bring to their task are wide experience in setting senior pay in both the private and public sector; and an understanding of the work of the Diplomatic Service and the demands placed on its senior ambassadors. The fact that one of their number is also the Chairman of the Senior Salaries Review Body and of the Remuneration Committee on Permanent Secretaries' pay will help ensure that the awards to senior ambassadors are in balance with those to permanent secretaries.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the businessmen and their firms will be precluded from offering retirement jobs to the ambassadors whose salaries they determine.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No. However, like their counterparts in the Home Civil Service, ambassadors are bound by the business appointments rules. Each application for a post-retirement job is treated on its merits under these rules.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether ambassadors retired from relevant posts will have their pensions reduced or increased if a particular failure or success in relations with the country to which he or she used to be accredited is deemed by the Ambassadors Remuneration Committee to have been his or her responsibility rather than that of the ambassador actually in post, and if not, why not.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Remuneration Committee has no direct responsibility for pensions.

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Pension benefits are, however, based on remuneration received in the final years of service.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who is responsible for measuring the objectives of embassies and whether those responsible for such definitions will be advising the Ambassadors Remuneration Committee on the measurability and the successful implementation of the objectives.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is for the ambassador to assess annually how his or her Mission has performed against the objectives agreed with the supervising Command in London. These assessments and any comments made by the Command will be made available to the Remuneration Committee.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is now their assumption that the contribution of a particular ambassador to policy advice can be evaluated and financially quantified during his or her actual tenure of a particular post and on what experience this assumption is erected.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Policy advice is one of a number of factors which the Remuneration Committee will take into account in making proposals on the pay of individual ambassadors. Taken together, the factors listed in the terms of reference will provide the committee with a sound basis for making its proposals.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is the implication of the current private sector appointments to the Ambassadors Remuneration Committee that businessmen are singularly suited to judging the effectiveness of ambassadors and their embassies in providing policy advice, and that they now consider that Britain has only business interests abroad.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Though the promotion of British commercial interests is a key objective, it does not follow from the appointment of eminent businessmen to the remuneration committee that Britain has only business interests abroad.

Ambassadors' Pay

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there have been any recent changes to the pay of the most senior ambassadors.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Pursuant to my Answer of 26 April at cols, WA,82-84, the final decisions on the pay of individual ambassadors will be taken by my right honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Hurd).

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European Convention on Human Rights: Breaches by UK

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will state (a) the number of breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights by the various States which are Parties; (b) their population sizes; (c) the dates of acceptance of the right of individual petition; and (d) any other relevant factors; so as to explain the basis of calculation upon which Baroness Blatch said (on 25 January, HL Deb., col. 1166) that the United Kingdom was fifteenth in the league table for breaches of the Convention; and for her further statement of 29 March, (HL Deb., col. 1697) that the United Kingdom is fourteenth in the league table.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: All of the factors to which the noble Lord refers were taken into account in arriving at the "league table" positions referred to by my noble friend Lady Blatch on 25 January and 29 March. The change in the United Kingdom's position from 15th to 14th reflects more recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The relevant statistics as at 29 March 1995, as supplied by the Council of Europe, have been placed in the Libraries of the House. The widely varying characteristics of the States Parties preclude absolute comparisons, but the figures nonetheless provide a yardstick.

Judgments in Actions Brought by European Communities' Officials

Lord Bruce of Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many disputes between members of the staff of European Communities institutions and the institutions themselves were dealt with in the European Court of Justice (including the Court of First Instance since its establishment) for each of the last 10 years.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The number of judgments delivered by the Court of First Instance (CFI) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in actions brought by Community officials is as follows:

Year ECJ CFI
1985 38
1986 35
1987 36
1988 32
1989 34
1990 7 51
1991 26
1992 45
1993 43
1994 41

These figures do not include the small number of ECJ judgments delivered in appeals brought in the ECJ from decisions of the CFI on staff cases. The number of

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judgments delivered on all appeals (not just staff cases) is:


    1991: 5


    1992: 9


    1993: 6


    1994: 16


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